GEORGE HARRISON HODGES. One of the representative farmers of Clay county whose dominions partly encircle the village of Vashti and whose advent to the county gave a substantial impetus to his community’s business and social life is George H. Hodges, the worthy subject of this review. While only a dozen years mark his citizenship here, his presence and his personal influence are as marked as though the cloak of the patriarchal pioneer covered his strong and active frame.
Although Clay county knew Mr. Hodges no earlier than 1893, Texas has known him since January, 1874, when he identified himself with Navarro county. Choctaw county, Mississippi, furnished him among her quota to the Lone Star state of that year and he came with sincere motives of carving out an honored future and, it might be, accumulating a modest fortune in a land where opportunities were literally hanging on every bush. A strong physique and a willing hand were his chief capital and to his industrial touch the natural elements and the soil itself responded with liberality, and the rough-hewing of his path portended the destiny that was surely his. Beginning life at the age of seventeen, he spent the years till his majority in the employ of an uncle, Dock Stewart, with whom he came to Texas and from whom he received, in wages, the nucleus of his real start in life.
Eight months a pupil in a rural school gave him a very crude finish for the world of affairs, but he took counsel from experience and has condition in the present shows how successfully he has met the problems of the past. He grew up with his maternal grandfather on a plantation and it was but natural that he should seek advantage on the farm in his western home. He settled near Purdon, in Navarro county, and, in 1876, he joined a brother in the purchase of a tract of black-waxy land which he occupied until 1881, when he turned his interest into cash and purchased a farm with a cotton gin and other improvements on, and this he sold after his advent to Clay county. In 1890 he visited Clay and bought, or bargained for, his new home, but fearing he could not pay for it out of the soil he remained for the farm and then transferred his residence hither. In the beginning here he purchased a gin, moved it to Vashti and operated it till 1901, when be bought another tract near town of three hundred and twenty acres north of the little village where he maintains his home. His material prosperity has enabled him to become the owner of six hundred and eighty acres, improved with tenement houses and everything necessary for its proper cultivation and care.
September 6, 1851, George H. Hodges was born in Choctaw county, Mississippi. His father, Richard Hodges, settled there from Alabama when Choctaw county was new an died in the Confederate service in Mobile, in 1865. Richard Hodges went to Mississippi when a boy and married there Eliza Jane Levor, who died in 1853 in Choctaw county, Mississippi. She was a daughter of Joseph Levor, an Alabama settler who died in 1867, some four years subsequent to the death of our subject’s paternal grandfather, Richard Hodges.
The issue of Richard and Eliza Hodges were: Joseph, who went through the war as a Confederate soldier and in 1867 moved to Navarro county, Texas, where he still lives; William, who was in the Confederate army during the last year of the war and died soon after in Yalobusha county, Mississippi; John S., of Mills county, Texas, and George H., our subject.
In December, 1878, George H. Hodges married his first wife, Fannie Patterson, a daughter of Samuel Patterson, who settled in Navarro county from Newton county, Mississippi, where his daughter Fannie was born in October, 1860. In June, 1890, Mrs. Hodges passed away in Navarro, being the mother of Annie, wife of J. B. Wardworth, of Clay County, with issue, Ray, Wessie and Otto; Mattie, who married S. H. Manning, of Clay county, has a daughter, Lotus; Maggie, unmarried; Laura, now Mrs. James Honn, of Clay county, has a daughter, Jewel; Samuel is the youngest child. In January, 1891, Mr. Hodges married his present wife, nee Laura Patterson, orphaned in childhood and a cousin of his first wife. The result of this union has been five children, namely: Susie, Homer, Ray, Rue and Earl.
Mr. Hodges takes no active interest in politics, but owns allegiance to Democracy, and in church affairs is a Methodist. His citizenship is of the sincere, loyal and progressive sort and he yields precedence to no man in his faith in Northern Texas and in the belief in its ultimate destiny.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 556-557.